6.5/10
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138 user 80 critic

Burnt Offerings (1976)

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2:20 | Trailer
A family moves into a large old mansion that seems to have a mysterious and maybe even sinister power over their actions.

Director:

Dan Curtis

Writers:

Robert Marasco (novel), William F. Nolan (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Karen Black ... Marian Rolf
Oliver Reed ... Ben Rolf
Burgess Meredith ... Arnold Allardyce
Eileen Heckart ... Roz Allardyce
Lee Montgomery ... David Rolf (as Lee H. Montgomery)
Dub Taylor ... Walker
Bette Davis ... Aunt Elizabeth
Joseph Riley Joseph Riley ... Ben's Father
Todd Turquand Todd Turquand ... Young Ben
Orin Cannon Orin Cannon ... Minister
Jim Myers Jim Myers ... Dr. Ross
Anthony James ... The Chauffeur
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Storyline

Ben and Marian Rolf rent a grand old country mansion as a summer getaway for themselves, their twelve year old son Davey, and Ben's Aunt Elizabeth. They feel they can't turn down the rent deal offered to them by the house's owners, siblings Roz and Arnold Allardyce, despite some reservations. First amongst those reservations, they are to take care of the house on their own, which Ben feels is too big a job, especially for Marian and the interior housekeeping. In Marian's words, the large size of the house is a "waste". And second and perhaps more important amongst those reservations, the Allardyces' aged mother will be staying in her room at the house, the Rolfs who are to provide a tray of food left outside her room three times a day, which Marian vows to take care of on her own, with no other members of the family to go into that isolated wing of the house so as not to disturb Mrs. Allardyce's peace. Upon their arrival at the house for the first day of their stay, they find a note ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THE FATHER. He knew there was something sinister about the house but he didn't know what it was. THE MOTHER. She was living in the house but she didn't know the house was beginning to live in her. THE LANDLORD. He told them the house would take care of itself. But he didn't tell them it would take care of them too. THE AUNT. She wanted a nice, quiet vacation-but it may be the last one she ever takes. THE LANDLORD'S SISTER. She asked them to take care of her mother but she wouldn't tell them why See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Italy

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 October 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pesadilla diabólica See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the commentary with director Dan Curtis, he says that he actually read the novel 'Burnt Offerings' years before he got the offer to direct this film. Curtis said that he hated the open-ended conclusion of the novel and, at the time, thought to himself that he would pity anyone who would attempt to make it into a movie. Ironically, years later, the offer to direct the movie version of the novel came to him, and the first thing he did was write an ending that he liked - the one featured in the film. See more »

Goofs

The Kirby vacuum that Karen Black is using on the steps, she turns it off via a switch on the handle. That series of Kirby never had a handle switch, it would have had a toe switch down by the motor. See more »

Quotes

Ben Rolf: Marian, whether you come with us or not; tomorrow we're going back.
Marian Rolf: Going back? To what?
Ben Rolf: To what we had.
Marian Rolf: We had nothing!
Ben Rolf: And what do you suppose we've got now?
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Different Take On Your Average Haunted House Movie.
23 April 2006 | by drownnnsodaSee all my reviews

I had never heard about this film before, I saw it once at a video store once but hesitated to rent it. While at the store around Halloweentime, I happened to see it, and it was on sale for 10 bucks so I decided to give it a chance. And I actually enjoyed it, it was a fairly good movie.

"Burnt Offerings" is pretty much a typical haunted house story, but with a bit of a spin to it. It's about Marian and Ben Ralf (played by Karen Black and Oliver Reed) and their son, who move into a summerhouse in the country that is owned by a very strange brother and sister. The price is a steal, the only catch is that they would have to supply minimal food and care to the sibling's grandmother, who lives in an upstairs bedroom. Marian takes on this duty, and the family begins to prepare themselves to have a relaxing summer out at the old manor. Ben's Aunt, played by the legendary Bette Davis, also is staying with them at the summerhouse. After staying there for awhile, strange things begin to happen, and Marian becomes very secretive of the grandmother in the upstairs room. In fact, nobody in the entire house besides her have even seen the old woman. As tension mounts between Ben and Marian, strange events plague the family, including apparitions, strange sounds, etc.

The ending of this film was pretty different, it may be a bit confusing, but it's still good. Apparently the film is based on a book, which I may personally like to read myself. There are some parallels to "The Shining" too, even though this was released 4 years before that. But, Mr. Stephen King himself noted the novel as one of his favorite horror stories, so it leads me to believe he may have taken some inspiration from this story for "The Shining". Karen Black and Bette Davis give great performances, they are the most remarkable in the film. Oliver Reed was also great, and the kid, while a little whiny and unconvincing, was good enough for his role.

Overall, "Burnt Offerings" has a pretty good story, good acting and a well known cast (primarily Black and Davis). One of the better classic haunted house tales, with a different twist on it that makes it stand out a little in my mind. 7/10.


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